Judge bars Khalid Sheikh Mohammed testimony in trial of bin Lade - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Judge bars Khalid Sheikh Mohammed testimony in trial of bin Laden relative

Posted: Updated:
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Sulaiman Abu Ghaith

By TOM HAYS | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the self-described architect of the Sept. 11 attacks will not be allowed to testify in the terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, but defense lawyers later asked him to reconsider.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan firmly rejected a request by the lawyers to call Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as a witness at the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith using live, closed-circuit video from Guantanamo Bay, where Mohammed is imprisoned.

At a hearing during an off day at Abu Ghaith's trial, Kaplan told the defense that the testimony would be irrelevant because there was no evidence that Mohammed and Abu Ghaith had ever met or even been in the same country. He also criticized Abu Ghaith's lawyers for making the request at such a late stage.

"I have considered this very carefully," Kaplan said. "This is much ado about nothing."

When defense attorney Stanley Cohen stood to try to argue further, Kaplan ordered him to sit down.

"Too little, too late," the judge said in a stern tone. "It's not here. It's denied."

Prosecutors had pointed to a recent written statement by Mohammed that he would refuse to testify in the case as another reason to deny the defense request to call him as a witness. But shortly after the ruling, Cohen sent the judge a letter saying he had received word from Mohammed's lawyer that Mohammed had now "agreed to be examined without limitation on all relevant topics." There was no immediate response from the government or the judge.

Abu Ghaith has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill Americans and aided al-Qaida as the terror group's spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks. The 48-year-old onetime imam at a Kuwaiti mosque was brought to New York from Turkey last year.

The judge's ruling also bars the jury from considering the 14-page statement Mohammed provided in response to 451 questions from Abu Ghaith's lawyers.

In the statement, Mohammed said Abu Ghaith had no military role in al-Qaida - a claim possibly supporting defense arguments that Abu Ghaith had no knowledge of pending al-Qaida attacks when he warned on a widely circulated video after Sept. 11, 2001, that "the storm of airplanes will not abate."

At the same time, Mohammed's statement seemed to back the government's position that Abu Ghaith was a key player in al-Qaida, saying fighting one of the world's superpowers meant "we would have to resort to a long war of attrition to which the military and media alike contribute."

Mohammed said he never personally spoke to Abu Ghaith about plots to blow up U.S. airplanes with shoe bombs in December 2001, when Mohammed headed al-Qaida's operations conducted outside of Afghanistan.

Abu Ghaith is the highest-level al-Qaida figure to be tried in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. His trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Andy Golub's NYC Bodypainting Day

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:43:52 GMT
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
    The saying art is autobiographical takes on a whole new meaning when your canvas is a fully nude human body, as it is for artist Andy Golub. Andy along with 30 other artists and 45 Technicolor models paraded around several Manhattan hotspots over the weekend for NYC Body Painting day. Believe or not, this is completely legal in New York City.
  • Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Protestors rally against NYPD's 'broken windows' policing

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:07:39 GMT
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
    Emotions about police brutality were still raw at a protest in Harlem Wednesday night. Eric Garner died after police put him in an apparent choke hold. Cops stopped garner for the minor offense of selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers had been enforcing the so-called broken windows policy.
  • WTC shipwreck mystery solved

    WTC shipwreck mystery solved

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:08:14 GMT
    Archeologists say they've solved a mystery that started with the rebuilding at ground zero. During the excavation at the World Trade Center Site, workers uncovered part of an old ship. No one knew where it came from. Now after years of study, researchers believe the sloop dates back to 1773, built from wood harvested from Pennsylvania, the same kind used to build Independence Hall.
    Archeologists say they've solved a mystery that started with the rebuilding at ground zero. During the excavation at the World Trade Center Site, workers uncovered part of an old ship. No one knew where it came from. Now after years of study, researchers believe the sloop dates back to 1773, built from wood harvested from Pennsylvania, the same kind used to build Independence Hall.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices